Blue Heron Writes

Sharing to Inspire through Words and Pictures

Seashell Soliloquy

As a young child, I recall

receiving an Atlantic Whelk Shell.

“Put it up to your ear,” I was told.

And I heard the roar of the sea.

My eyes lit up with excitement

and my love of the ocean began

or perhaps it was rekindled.

Who’s to know?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * **

Today, I mudlark on seashores

building a treasure trove of magical, mollusk shells,

the ocean’s generous gifts

found strewn on the sand when tides recede.

Waves wash over the powdery beach,

I’m lulled by the ocean’s heartbeat.

I inhale its fishy scent,

taste saltiness on my tongue

Screeches and squawks of sea birds grow,

perhaps warning me away,

as they come to dine

on a fresh feast of mussels, whelks, cockles and more.

Gulls, terns, oystercatchers,

sanderlings and their kin,

race for those delectable delicacies

delivered by the briny deep.

They skitter along the beach

taking flight if I draw too near.

My focus is not on them,

but on what they leave behind.

Astonishing specimens,

from Conchs to Clams and Coquinas

each a vacant, discarded home,

distinct in size and shape.

Like hand-crafted sculptures

their fine detailed swirls and ridges,

spirals and open cups of iridescence,

all formed by departed occupants

still seem to pulse with life.

Individual marks and shading,

colours covering the spectrum –

from foam white to squid ink black,

ultramarine to pearlescent pink.

What is their allure –

drawing me to dig my toes into the warm sand,

eyes focusing,

scanning the beach for my next prize?

Is it simply the ebb and flow

within me –

a biological response

to the moon and the tides?

Am I reconnecting with my life in the womb

where I began my human journey,

free floating my first nine months

in a tiny fetal sea?

Could it be my reptilian brain,

driving this keepsake obsession,

recalling our primordial origins,

our primeval departure from the sea?

I buy bijouterie

created from shells,

wear them as totems

to the ocean, our distant past.

Like a loved one’s ashes

I save them as ancestral relics,

the scent of the sea lingering

in shell-filled jars and bowls.

At home amid my treasures

I hear surf breaking on the shore

gulls calling overhead –

the sea in me restored.

© Wendie Donabie 2022



  1. Beautiful

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